SAMJHOTA EXPRESS BLAST: FACTS AND FICTION

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On February 18 in 2007, an IED blast was carried out in the Samjhauta train – which runs between Delhi and Lahore – at Panipat in Haryana. 68 people including 43 Pakistan citizens, 10 Indian citizens and 15 unidentified people were killed in the blast. 12 people including 10 Pakistanis and 2 Indians were also injured in the terrorist attack.

The Hindu extremists had conducted an attack on Samjhauta Express in 2007 and blamed the Muslim groups for this attack but later on; the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) arrested a worker under the name Kamal Chauhan of Hindu extremist organization Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in New Delhi.

According to the reports, Chauhan was explosives specialist and he had planted the bomb in that train. Later on, the investigations had revealed that this Hindu activist with several other persons had been involved in Ajmer Dargah blast, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and Malegaon.

Initially the Muslims and specifically the Pakistani banned outfits were blamed in all these incidents but later on, Hindu chauvinists confessed their involvement in these acts of terror.

Hemant Karkare, chief of the police anti-terrorist squad in Mumbai, speaks on a mobile phone at a temple in Mumbai July 17, 2007. Karkare was killed during attacks in the financial hub on November 26, 2008, Indian television channels reported. Picture taken July 17, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA)

Inspector General Hemant Karkare of Maharashtra Police was the head of investigations. He had identified the Hindutva organizations for terrorism in India. Interestingly several political commentators had also called it “Hindutva Terror” or the “Saffron Terror”. The opposition parties, including BJP and Shiv Sena, had alleged that the arrests were made under the pressure of the incumbent government to appease Indians Muslim population The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was investigating the Malegaon blast of 2006 in which the names of many Hindu hardliners from Sangh Parivar, RSS, BJP, Jagran Munch were included. The plan was to remove ATS chief Hemant Karkare and to appoint a new ATS chief in order to protect these hardliners from prosecution. Mr. Hemant Karkare was targeted and killed during the Mumbai 2008 operation.

Mrs. Karkare earlier denied the involvement of Hindu terrorist organization saffron, in her husband’s death. It was widely believed that Mrs. Karkare had received reprisal threats from the RSS just after Mumbai Attack. Later on, she had filed a case against RAW and Col. Prohit in Indian Supreme Court. She had also provided evidence of Colonel Prohit and RAW involvement in this terror attack. According to the Inspector General of Police Mr. S.M.Mushrrif, the ATS chief Hemant Karkare and other officials were not killed by terrorists but by the target killers of Hindutva parties who took advantage of 26/11. It proves that the goons of the Hindu extremist party had killed Karkare and fabricated the evidence to accuse terrorists who were allegedly involved in Mumbai 2008 attack.

It was also reported that Swami Aseemanand, a leader of the Hindu extremist group (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was found guilty before a judicial magistrate. He was accused that he and his fellow RSS activists were involved in blasts in Samjhauta Express, at mosques in Malegaon in Maharashtra state and Andhra Pradesh’s state capital, Hyderabad besides a Muslim shrine in Ajmer in Rajasthan. Col. Prohit himself had confessed during the investigation of Samjhauta express tragedy for giving training to Hindu terrorists to initiate an armed conflict between Pakistan and India. This statement clearly reflects the sick mentality of Indian Army and her overt and covert support to extremists and moreover Infiltration of Hindutva elements into the Indian army and intelligence agencies. India is exposed to being confronted with the evidence indicating increased activities of a secret Hindu terror network which is responsible for a wave of deadly attacks previously blamed on the Muslims. 

The opposition leader in Indian parliament Mr. Rahul Gandhi truly confirmed that the growth of Hindu extremists presents a greater threat to India than the Muslims. Pakistan had urged India to share findings of the investigation which was conducted for Samjhauta train blasts after it was disclosed that Hindu extremist outfits were behind the terrorist activities in February 2007. It is evident that the historic anti-Pakistan posture of India in general and Hindutva approach of BJP government in particular that India had used 26/11 as a propaganda tool against Pakistan.

Swami Aseemanand, a former member of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had been described as the alleged mastermind in the conspiracy. There were eight accused in the case but only four faced the trial. Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, the prime accused in the case, had been granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2015. Three accused – Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma were in judicial custody in Central Jail Ambala. Three accused – Amit Chouhan (Ramesh Venkat Malhakar), Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange have been declared as proclaimed offenders in the case. Another accused Sunil Joshi – NIA calls him the mastermind – was killed in December 2007 in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

Indian National Investigating Agency (NIA) Charge Sheet

According to the NIA probe report placed before the trial court, Aseemanand and associates “developed vengeance” against the whole Muslim community, said the NIA in its initial charge sheet, adding he propounded the theory called ‘bomb ka badla bomb”.

The accused persons met different persons across the country in order to conspire, plan and chalk out the strategies to execute bomb blasts at or near the Muslim places of worship, places inhabited by Muslims and the Samjhauta Express train which is used by Indian and Pakistani Muslims for travel to each other’s relatives, said the NIA.

Accused Rajender Chaudhary along with Sunil Joshi, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Amit and others are said to have attended training at Bagli forest in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh in January 2006 during which the “timer bomb with high explosive” was prepared and demonstrated.

The accused also participated in the firing practice at Karni shooting range in Faridabad in April 2006.

The train was chosen because there was “no security available at Old Delhi Railway Station,” according to the reconnaissance carried out by the accused. The accused travelled from Indore and stayed in the dormitory room at Old Delhi Railway Station prior to the blast.

Speaking candidly to The Wire, Vikash Narain Rai, a former Haryana police officer who headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) from 2007 to early 2010, said the police recovered an unexploded bomb from the train. In the course of investigations, it was found that all the parts of that ‘incendiary device’ were purchased by people linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its associate groups.

Rai said that the trail of evidence took the team to Indore, where RSS member Sunil Joshi and his two accomplices were found to be complicit in the crime. Before they could interrogate Joshi, however, he was murdered.

Rai’s revelations had come at a time when senior ministers have openly attacked the idea of ‘Hindutva terror’. Last year, the former public prosecutor in the Malegaon blasts case, Rohini Salian had accused the NIA of pressuring her to ‘go soft on the Hindutva extremists.’ Some retired bureaucrats also alleged that NIA chief Sharad Kumar’s tenure was extended to divert attention from the role of Hindutva extremists in a series of explosions between 2006 to 2008.

Rahila Wakil who hails from Dhingrawali village under Hafizabad district in the Punjab province of Pakistan claimed her father Mohammad Wakil died in the train blast moved an application through an Indian advocate and requested the Pakistan based eyewitnesses and witnesses be summoned to depose before the court.2

“All eyewitnesses belong to Pakistan and are ready to appear before the court for their evidence and without their evidence, this trial cannot be decided on the merits,” Rahila said in her application.

A special court on Wednesday (20 Mar 2019) acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in the Samjhauta train blast case, saying the National Investigative Agency failed miserably to establish their guilt. NIA special judge Jagdeep Singh also dismissed the plea of a Pakistani woman for examining eyewitnesses from her country, saying the plea was “devoid of merit.”

The Samjhauta Express bombing was part of a string of similar attacks in 2006 and 2007 where the targets were ostensibly Muslims and investigations by the NIA pointed to the role of Hindu groups.

The first was in September 2006 when a string of explosions was set off at a Muslim cemetery in Malegaon, a town in Maharashtra state, which killed at least 40 people.

In May 2007, a blast in the 400-year-old Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad city killed six people and five more died when the police opened fire on people who launched a spontaneous agitation at the site.

At least two people were killed when a bomb went off at the Ajmer Dargah in the northern state of Rajasthan in 2007.

Swami Aseemanand, who featured prominently in the course of the investigations, had said in a taped interview in 2014 to Indian magazine The Caravan that some of the worst attacks in the country were sanctioned by the then-RSS top leadership.

The term false flag has been used symbolically and it denotes the purposeful misrepresentation of an actor’s objectives or associations. The lineage of this term is drawn from maritime affairs where ships raise a false flag to disguise themselves and hide their original identity and intent. The false flag was usually used by pirates to conceal themselves as civilian or merchant ships and to prevent their targets from escaping away or to stall them while preparing for a battle. In other cases, false flags of ships were raised to blame the attack on someone else.

A False Flag Operation can be defined as:

“A covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.”

These operations are purposefully carried out to deceive public about the culprits and perpetrators. This phenomenon has become a normal practice in recent years as rulers often opt for this approach to justify their actions. It is also used for fabrication and fraudulently accuse or allege in order to rationalize the aggression. Similarly, it is a tool of coercion which is often used to provoke or justify a war against adversaries. In addition, false flag operations could be a single event or a series of deceptive incidents materializing a long-term strategy. A primary modern case of such operations was accusation on Iraqi President Saddam Hussain for possessing weapons of mass- destruction ‘WMD’, which were not found after NATO forces, waged a war on Iraq. A similar case is of the global war on terror.

Presently the false flag operations also include attacking their own land and blaming their adversaries or terrorists for carrying out these offensive attacks, which may also act as a ground for inland or foreign aggression. Not only covert agencies but civilian organizations also conduct such operations. In the case of civilian organizations, they tend to conceal the identity of an actual organization behind such operations. Cases of Non-governmental and Non-profit organizations are evident where agendas of a government or business are served behind the cover of other organizations. Currently, false flag operations are an arrangement which serves a range of purposes such as acting as a tool of covert operations, war tactics, and espionages. It also embraces elements of psychological warfare and for fabricating the historical incidents and staging a conspiracy. Furthermore, false flag operations are also known as pseudo-operations or artificial operations which do not have any ground realities in actual.

India is facing many internal challenges and issues. The mishandling of COVID had also taken its toll and badly exposed the Indian government’s capacity/ capabilities.

India on one side has been on a weapon purchasing spree to acquire the status of regional military power and on the other side its population was perishing on roads of Delhi and Bombay due to lack of oxygen.

India is facing multiple challenges which include economic downturn, domestic insurgencies, widespread demonstrations, tensions between ethnic groups and religious bigotry. To distract the attention of international and domestic media Indian establishment articulately construct and cultivate anti-Pak narratives.

The Indian Intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) plotted a False Flag operation on 30th January 1971, when an Indian airplane (Fokker) known as Ganga was hijacked and flown to Lahore airport, Pakistan.

The names of two alleged hijackers Hashim Qureshi and Ashraf Butt were highlighted. Both of them were labeled as Kashmiri freedom fighters by Indian the government.

Pakistan was immediately blamed and was prohibited to use Indian airspace; consequently,

Pakistan could no longer fly to East Pakistan which is now known as Bangladesh.

It was reported on 1st February1971, that passengers and crew who were present in the Ganga were not confined and reportedly burned the aircraft. Later on, it was revealed that Ganga was already out of service but was made operational only one day before the incident of hijacking was staged.

It was a clear example of False Flag Operation as this incident was later used as an excuse to put a ban on Pakistani flight operations over Indian airspace which as a result led to war between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan was unable to maintain a quick supply line for the forces which were deployed in East Pakistan. Pakistani flights had to take a longer route via Colombo causing substantial delays in supply for the Pakistani forces. The Indian armed forces took full advantage of this situation to bolster insurgency led by Bengali political leader Mujeeb ur Rehman.

An Indian Airlines airbus flying from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked just before the planned visit of the United States President Bill Clinton to Pakistan and India.

A group under the name of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen was accused of this hijacking with the support and active assistance from Pakistani premier Intelligence agency ISI.

The hijacked airplane was re-routed to Pakistan but the Pakistani authorities had denied the landing in Lahore.

The airplane had touched down in Dubai, Amritsar, and Lahore but due to the refusal of respective governments, the hijacked airplane had finally landed at Kandahar Airport which was already under the command of the Taliban.

The re-routing of flight had also raised the questions as apparently, it could serve two purposes, first was to release few passengers at Dubai while other was to assert that Pakistan and Taliban were behind this hijacking.

The Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpayee openly blamed Pakistan and asked all major powers to declare Pakistan as a terrorism-sponsoring country. India had engineered this hijacking to malign Pakistan’s image and to portray India as a victim of cross-border terrorism.

The Indian Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh had also stated that hijacking of Flight 814 was Pakistan’s hidden agenda and India has evidence of Pakistan’s involvement . The hijackers had demanded to release captive militants which were Pakistani nationals but later Mr. Jaswant Singh had failed to furnish any evidence of Pakistan’s involvement.

India Accused Pakistan being the Mastermind of hijacking (2000)

The Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpayee impugned Pakistan for backing the hijackers and forced the US and other major countries to declare Pakistan a terrorist state after receiving criticism from the government and Indian community for negotiating with the hijackers.

Pakistan had denied its involvement in the hijacking and insisted that the ongoing cold war between the two nuclear states is the result of Indian engineered hijacking to disrepute Pakistan.

The Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh further escalated the tension between the two states claiming that India has a proof of Pakistan’s involvement arguing that the hijackers wanted to free the jailed Pakistani militants but he had failed to provide any proof in this context.

The mass killing of around thirty-five Sikhs took place in Anantnag, district of Jammu and Kashmir on 20th March 2000. This massacre is still remembered as “Day of Bloodshed” by the entire Sikh community living in Chittisingpura.

Initially, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan were accused of carrying out this operation. In this regard, Muhammad Sohail Malik was blamed as a leader however his name was later omitted from the list by a court in New Delhi.

The New York Times and many other well-known agencies had also accused Lashkar-e- Taiba however; a New Delhi court and other synchronized strategists noted that the entire massacre was portrayed as a False Flag operation for exploiting and to defame the image of Pakistan in the global politics.

In an interview of Sikh News Express, a Retired Lt. General spoke to Jasneed Singh that it was planned propaganda.

Moreover, the interesting part was that the massacre had occurred during US President Bill Clinton first visit to Pakistan and India in 20 years.

Even Madeleine Albright an attributed US politician and diplomat, mentioned in her book known as ‘The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs (2006) that Hindus extremist mindset is at work with atrocious conspiracies. Furthermore, US President Clinton referred to the massacre as hostile and asked to refrain from blaming the Islamic religious groups.

The Indian Parliament was attacked in New Delhi in 13th December 2001. The Indian authorities accused Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) without any investigations.

They referred to this terrorist attack as a Pakistani agenda against India. This attack had caused the death of 14 people but the situation had  escalated  to the military stand-off  at  borders  of  both countries.

The Indian Media had mentioned this attack as a breach of national security due to the negligence of concerned authorities.

A former home Ministry Officer Mr. RVS Mani stated that members of investigating committee claimed that the Indian Parliament attack was orchestrated by the Indian government.

However, Mr. Satish Verma, a member of the Central Bureau of Investigation-SIT probe team, said that “Attack on the Indian parliament in 2000 and the Mumbai attacks in 2008 were set up with the objective of strengthening the counter-terrorism legislation and to get extra funds.

Mr. Sukumar Muralidharan from International Federation of Journalists stated that “The media failed to act as were supposed to even after the High Court verdict”. The investigation police officers had to revisit the case to find new evidence.

Another false flag operation of India was exposed by their own media persons and officers holding senior positions in public offices.

Afzal Guru was used as a Scapegoat by Indian agencies in their orchestrated terror plan whereas he wasn’t provided a lawyer at the crucial stage of his trail. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police, which was appointed as investigation in- charge of this case used the media to brand Mr. Guru as guilty even before the trial.

The New Delhi High Court although acknowledged that the investigating agency had fabricated the evidence against the accused but upheld the verdict.

Mr. Guru’s trial did not meet the international standards for a fair trial as he was denied due process, legal counsel and the presumption of innocent until proven guilty.

The Jammu  and Kashmir legislative  assembly  was attacked on 1st October 2001 in which 38 people were killed and numerous injured.

In addition, three “Fedayeen” (Kashmiri Freedom Fighters) were killed. An explosive-laden vehicle was rammed into the main gate of the building located in Srinagar. The question arises that was it a mere coincidence or a pre-planned execution that no legislator was killed bedsides that many senior leaders had already left the building.

The Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad bombing occurred on 18 May 2007 in which 14 people had lost their lives. The Indian National Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation and Anti- Terrorist Squad questioned the former members of the RSS including Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk who had been linked to three terror attacks. He was among the five men acquitted in 2007 blast in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid. The Central Bureau of Investigation produced Swami Aseemanand before the court on 19 November 2010 in connection with the Blast. The Indian Tehelka magazine had obtained a copy of 42-pages confession. According to his confession, many of those involved in the bombings were members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak

Sangh (RSS) the right-wing of the parent organization of Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The NIA officer-in-charge of the case Pratibha Ambedkar was immediately removed and the judge who wrote the verdict was forced to resign.

The Muslims of India had faced several tragic incidents in 2006 including a mosque located in Malegaon Maharashtra which was exploded with a planted bomb on September 2006. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) initially blamed the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and also accused Pakistan. It was revealed in 2013 that the Hindu extremist group Abhinav Bharat was behind it. The Indian false accusations against Pakistan were exposed when it was found that fictitious inquiries had been carried out by investigative agencies  and  innocent  Muslims were forced to confess the heinous crimes which they had never committed. The Indian court had finally ordered on 25 April 2016 to release the nine Muslims who were previously arrested on fabricated charges.

The Ahmedabad bombing 2008 was a sequence of 21 explosive blasts that hit the same city in which more than 200 people were wounded. The blasts were identical with Bangalore and Karnataka. The free Indian media had claimed that these were false flag operations executed by India whereas the pro-government media claimed that the Indian Mujahideen were involved and had also accepted the responsibility of these attacks. The Indian Police from Gujrat was able to arrest the mastermind Mufti Abu Bashir along with his companions. The investigation team could not find any evidence against Pakistan. It was revealed that these blasts were planned by Indian religious extremist having a background of Hindu-Muslim Communal violence.

The attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team took place on 3rd March, 2009, when a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers as a part of a large convoy was attacked by 12 gunmen near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against the Pakistani cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were wounded and six Pakistani policemen  and  two  civilians  were killed. The attack  was  carried out with the involvement of Indian agencies to blame Pakistan however the Sri Lankan Police Chief Mr. Mendis clearly rejected any involvement of Pakistan and reported that this act of terror was carried out by India to malign Pakistan.

Another incident was the Pathankot Air Base attack in Indian Punjab. The Indian government promptly blamed Pakistan and Jaish-e-Muhammad was accused. The Director-General, National Investigation Agency had reported after the investigation that they didn’t find any directs involvement of Pakistani agencies. It is worth to highlight the timing of this attack as this attack was executed a few days later after Modi had visited former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his house and promised a better relationship between India and Pakistan.

The attack on Indian army base Uri was executed in September 2016. The purpose was to instigate tensions at Pakistan-India border and to build a narrative for a pre- emptive surgical strike in Pakistan. The Indian government had claimed that the Indian army was able to destroy a militant’s camp in AJK. Their superficial claim was challenged as it was not possible to cross the Line of Control (LOC) in the presence of the Pakistani army. There is no doubt that it was pre- planned by the Indians, therefore, the government of Pakistan had demanded an international investigation. Pakistan took a stance that the attack was an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from violations committed by Indians in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).

India had alleged Pakistan of attacking the military camp in IIOJK on 18 September 2016 Sep despite lack of substantial evidence.

This attack was executed before the Pakistan Prime minister’s address in the United Nations General Assembly on the human rights violations in IIOJK.

It was a desperate attempt to dilute the effects but India once again miserably failed to prove any Pakistani involvement.

The world must take a serious note of this fact that the Indian nuclear arsenal has now fallen in the hands of Fascist BJP Government which is supported by the well-known extremist organization RSS and could be used in a false flag operation to blame Pakistan.

In a nutshell, Samjhauta Express incident was a stage-managed drama to put Pakistan onto the mat and label it out as the Epicenter of Terror in South Asia.

It is of particular attention that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex- investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament on 12 January 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws and strangulate voices of dissent.

It has been time and again proved that Indian secret agencies; particularly RAW arranged coordinated State sponsored terror attacks to defame Pakistan in the world and to fulfill a number of other sinister aims.

There is long list of terror attacks planned by Indian security agencies to distort the image of Pakistan and its primary intelligence agency, ISI, linking it with the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

As a responsible country, Pakistan remained committed to providing all cooperation to Indian in terms of accelerating the Samjhota Express trial and bringing all perpetrators to justice, but India never adopted a serious attitude. It was due to Indian the non-cooperative attitude due to which justice could not be served.

Pakistan’s actions and successes in fight against terrorism are unmatchable as it managed its internal instability in a very effective manner. Similarly, Pakistan also rejects and condemns acts of terrorism anywhere in the world including India.

India is facing multiple challenges which include economic downturn, domestic insurgencies, widespread demonstrations, tensions between ethnic groups and religious bigotry. To distract the attention of international and domestic media Indian establishment articulately construct and cultivate anti-Pak narratives.

The world must take a serious note of this fact that the Indian nuclear arsenal has now fallen in the hands of Fascist BJP Government which is supported by the well-known extremist organization RSS and could be used in a false flag operation to blame Pakistan.

India has got an all-in-one solution for its problems, “Pakistan” she thinks that the best way forward is to divert attention towards Pakistan. It is also well-known fact that Indian political and intelligence leadership has openly boosted claims that, due to India’s falsified propaganda campaigns, along with disinformation campaigns and diplomatic efforts, Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list.

The World’s (so called) Largest Democracy Is Failing, Indian journalist Rana Ayub truly described the fact, “I’m somebody who is changing the opinion of the world vis-à-vis India”. “The only way they (Indian government) think they can stop me is with rape and death threats, which are now a part of my life.”

Indian State is rapidly losing the strength of its Federation, in actual India is a ticking time bomb ready to implode within causing catastrophic consequences for regional and international peace.

“The use of falsehood is embedded in the national character of Indian State”.